Bastard Coated Bastards: Bastard Begins

From the opening Bastards post I mentioned that we had taken over La Serena in Chile. Close to the bottom of the table and on a pretty bad run of form. Clearly what they needed was an injection of grit. To get in touch with their inner bastards and dig deep.

I’m going to write you a prescription for two testicles. You get it filled whenever.

Dr Perry Cox

Now we had a little bit of cash, but not much pull and to be honest not much opportunity to bring many people in. We just had a free transfer window left (with a cap of 3 transfers) so a lot of that testicle prescription to up the Bastardiness of the team was going to have to come from the team we had, and the tactics.

Current Situation: End of Season 2024

I won’t bore you with a run down of players you’ve never heard of before, and won’t again with the upcoming end of season cull, but basically the squad was a combination of old men and young boys who all wanted to be wingers or strikers. Unfortunately not one of the boys could cross, and none of the men could run anymore. Tactically that left things a little tricky and I had to cycle through a few different formations.

My first idea was to try and use the few wingers that were any good in a sort of asymmetrical tactic. We had two decent left wingers so I gave that a go. It wasn’t great. So then I decided to hell with the wingers, stuffed them all in the B team in a fit of temper and tried a narrow 4-2-3-1 DM AM.

That had some success but I had a lot of strikers just sat around doing nothing on the bench, and they didn’t fit into the AM positions well. They just didn’t have the attributes to attack from deep. I gradually started to up the number of strikers, moving from a 4-2-2-2 narrow to a very narrow 4-1-2-3 (see below).

Arguably a mixed bag in the end but 4 wins, 2 draws and 5 losses was enough to actually see us safe. Not just safe but safe by 7 points in the end. We didn’t get punished for my tweaking of the tactics.

Success. The Bastards had survived to kick shins for another season.

New Season

Now we had a chance to really stamp our identity onto the squad, and for the squad to then stamp on everyone we played. Dead wood and wasteful flair filled wingers were removed from the squad. A few coaches with questionable personalities were brought in with the aim of influencing any of the youth products that might come through.

Expectations were set by the board, and accepted. They wanted us to finish in the playoffs. Last season we actually were closer to the playoffs (by a point) than relegation, so it sounded doable.

A lax code of conduct was put into place to encourage what I’d call creative aggression and the manoeuvring around on pitch rules. We were then all set for the big jobs, tactics and transfers.


During the end of last season we had gotten a taste for the FM24 match engine and the level of football being played here in Chile. We’d gradually morphed into a 4-1-2-3 but not one of those fancy ones with inside forwards or things like that. Just 3 strikers up front.

I’ve called it the Shank as on the pitch it’s a brutal but rudimentary penetrating device that I’ve cobbled together with whatever I can. If you’ve read my blog before you might recognise the principles so I’ll try not to labour over them. It’s direct, utilises a target forward, and everyone is set to tackle as hard as they can. Everyone.

I know positional play is all the rage for FM24. I know there have been some great posts about it. This isn’t one of them. I cannot be arsed making space via movement, or overloads by clever positioning, movement and switching. I’m just going to create a literal overload by having lots of people forward already, with an extra runner from deep sometimes getting involved (the CM-A), with lots of crosses getting whipped in, or diagonally, from the FBs.

It has more instructions than some tactics have despite this simplicity, but that’s largely because I want them to do very specific things and not deviate. I don’t trust my players to be truly creative. I want them to attack and be creative, but within very strict confines. Of course, I want them to do it by being disciplined.

Transfering in some Bastards

Lots of South American leagues have odd rules and stages, or league structures. To be honest, in comparison with a lot of other leagues Chile is fairly tame. A normal season, with just one stage. No opener or closing seasons where the table splits or gets averaged.

There were only two key things to consider:

  • Only 5 non-Chilean over-21 players allowed in the squad, plus up to a further 2 under-21 non-Chileans.
  • The minutes played by u21 players need to equal at least 70% of the team played minutes over the season. So 70% of 30 x 90 minutes. Which is 1890 minutes. Failure to comply leads to a 6pt deduction and a fine.

Both are simple enough, but do have a big impact. It means I can’t go mad signing some of the fantastic South America talent around (I’m looking at you in particular Argentina and Colombia) and have to make the few foreigners I have in the team carry their own weight. I have a lot of intermediaries offering solid talent but very few of the offered players are from Chile.

The youth requirement panicked me at first. Mainly as the way it is phrased was really ambiguous in game. It doesn’t for example say at least 1890 minutes need to be played, collectively, by your U21’s. That could be one player being in almost every match, or if could be spread across more players but in fewer games. It didn’t make that clear though. Once I’d unpuckered and did the maths it just means you need a few U21’s that can be rotated in or play as subs to get the minutes. Or, if you were lucky like me, have a couple that are starters to reach that 1890 really early.

Both of these rules had a bit of an impact on my transfers. It meant I had to be careful with foreign signings, and keep hold of some decent youth players.

One extra thing also influenced my approach. Being petty. In FM23, I signed some players to weaken my competition. Strengthening my squad and then weakening and reducing options for my rivals. I did the same here with some crafty loan signings.

The Chosen Bastards

I loved these signings I ended up with. First of all former Colo Colo wonderkid Nicholas Millan. He wasn’t the biggest bastard and was something of an extravagance but I needed someone with the eye for goal who could work as an AF off a bigger TF.

And the TF? Well why not Pino at 6ft 6? His attributes suggest he’s all elbows in the air and could be a great focal point. Likewise for Brazilian John Kleber who took up one of the foreign slots. Probably both bastards.

We finished off upfront with Uruguayan Rigoleto. We also had a young striker, Firmapaz, rejected by Boca after breaking his leg due to join later.

Then we bolstered our midfield with Brazilian Lordelo, and the Chilean’s Souper and Herrara. All versatile and gave a blend of defence and attack options.

Then we added to the defence with Villagran who on the pitch later proved himself to be 100% mean spirited bastard, and Salomon. Villagran wasn’t always the best defender over the course of the season, nor did he provide as much going forwards as the existing LB (Saavedra, below), but he did deck several people. He seemed genuinely confused about, and angry at, the rules of the game.

These all added to the core team below to give us a reasonably creative, aggressive squad

How it went?

We had an amazing season. We started well and kicked lumps out of people left right and centre. The tactic was direct and dirty. It wasn’t a perfect season but it was sharp contrast to even the good form at the end of last season, never mind the rest of it.

With four games to go it was very much in reach. Especially as we had league leaders Puerto Montt to play. We decided to not play fair against them. Why should we? We engaged in some targeted violence against their star player and season long threat Tapia. He was an AMR that was both creative and dangerous in front of goal. I use the past tense to describe him as I think we might have sent him to meet his maker.

We put a hit out on him and had him carried off by the medics before the first half was over. I’m pretty sure the injury was a gashed leg, demonstrating that sharpening our studs before games was a good approach.

Once he was off we spread the beatings around.

And though we didn’t send anyone else home in an ambulance, we really stopped them getting any momentum. In the end we won 4-0 and the momentum was well and truly ours for the last few games. It did only give us a 2 point gap, but they were honestly not the same after the public beating. Puerto Montt only picked up 1 point from the last few games and dropped out of the promotion spots entirely.

We won 2 of the last 3, and that was enough.

End of Season: Big Bunch of Bastards?

So it was a success but how did we hold up when we look at our bastard metrics? Well we actually didn’t have the worst discipline. But we did finish 2nd. Though to be honest the difference between 1st and 2nd was small, and the table uses just yellows and reds, not overall fouls.

Overall fouls is where we flourished I think. Clear daylight between us and the next biggest bastard.

We gave away the most penalties which I think demonstrates our commitment to violence extends well into our own penalty area. We also won a great deal of possession. As you can see from the graph as well we won a lot of possession and then often spaffed it against the wall with our direct and wayward passing.

No gradual working it into the box for us. No big final third presence. We were in the final third for a good time, not a long time. And as always it might seem bad to be at the bottom of a table but remember this just describes our play. Low final third passes suggests most passes from deeper which is exactly what we wanted. Poor stats here actually mean great success.

Also, who needs a set piece coach? I spent every interaction I had with the board begging for a set piece coach. It was always rejected, I guess because we were the leage leaders in penalty area bullying.

Next Season?

The violence and bastardy continues next season. As underdogs again I think it’ll play into our hands.

I should probably also note that the first season and a half was played during the beta, and the second half during the release. I’ve been enjoying the game, but I do sort of want to say I’m a little dissapointed with elements of it. There are still bugs and errors around stats for example, or a lack of QoL improvements or even just the ability to export information via print screen, that have been raised for the past 3-4 versions of FM now. Whilst I know these aren’t the most popular of things I really don’t think there should be features of elements of a game that remain broken for so long, or so often end up broken. I know these have all been raised by many people but the lack of attention to detail removes the shine of what should be the best version of FM to date. If it’s not important enough to fix SI really need to reflect on whether they consider it important enough to be in the game. Otherwise it is lip service at best.

I’ll still be playing, and I’ll be bastarding, but a lot of the stats stuff I wanted to do (because that’s the best use of my qualifications clearly) will have to wait until it’s either fixed or for another version.